Eric Silverman is one of the most disruptive forces in the area of “enhanced benefits”. You may have been calling them “voluntary” or “ancillary”, but Eric is passionate in his belief that neither of those words make the case for a benefit offering that is more important to clients and employees than ever before.

In this fast-paced interview, Eric explains how advisors interested in enhanced benefits fall into four distinct classes and delves into which group you want to be in for maximum productivity and client satisfaction. If you are currently active in this space or if you have been on the sidelines thinking about how to incorporate these solutions into your practice’s offerings, make sure to listen to this episode.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • Why language is important and the specific messages it sends when it comes to benefits.
  • What the four classes of advisors are as it pertains to enhanced benefits.
  • What two keys are for success.
  • If and when using professional enrollers is practical and advisable.
  • Why the current marketplace and today’s plan designs are driving enhanced benefits.

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Last week we explored buying leads. This week, in part 2 we will discuss how to maximize the potential of those purchased leads.

If you were surprised at how much has changed if you are buying leads, our guest this week, Don Runge, President of DMR and LeadGuru, believes that the established methodologies still work best for getting the most out of those leads.

Don contends that advisors need to make a “mind-shift” that challenges a lot of what they may believe about working leads. He also cautions that a lead is not a sale, but rather, a convenient excuse to begin a conversation with a prospect.

You will learn why CMA is more important than PMA and we will discuss the three things you need to work on before you call on those leads. For good measure, (and probably because we recorded the interview at lunchtime), we throw in a quick discussion of Chicago-style pizza!

What You’ll Learn from This Episode:

  • What the big issue is with acquiring and using leads.
  • What mind-shift advisors need to make.
  • What the most affective approaches are.
  • How to define a lead if it’s not a sale.
  • Why CMA is more important than PMA.
  • Three things advisors need to work on before they call.

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ShiftShapersCoverArtBuying leads has become more of a science than an art and the process is infused with new technology that helps you treat each lead like a $1000 bill.

We asked Richard Bufkin, President of Target Leads to update us on lead purchasing, a traditional process that has been brought very much up to date. Richard is the second generation of a business that is 32 years old and that has been in his family for 25 years, so he has seen that evolution up close and personal.

During our conversation, Richard also dispels some commonly held beliefs. For some products, fancy mailing pieces generally do not perform better than plain old black and white mailings. We learn how reply options have changed greatly – including “PURLS” (personalized URLs).

We learn about the critical importance of an integrated CRM and how your response time may dictate your success. Richard also talks about clustering, and resting zip codes.

What You’ll Learn from This Episode:

  • How Target Leads – a family business – has changed over time.
  • What’s new in lead purchasing.
  • Why CRM systems are critically important.
  • What “clustering” is and how it affects lead generation.
  • Why Richard will lock out leads for 90 days.
  • Which is more effective – fancy color mailings or plain old black and white.
  • What PURLs are, and why they’re so crucial to getting exposure.

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On this episode of ShiftShapers, our guest and I discuss the new and diverse tools that advisors within the insurance industry are using to market their businesses. The fastest growing method happens to be video, and Bart Camarata is an expert on the topic.

Bart is the creator and host of BenefitAdvisor TV, where he leverages his Middle Tennessee State education to produce quality video content. Bart takes on some preconceptions about video – is it expensive to get started? and is it difficult to get started? We also discuss how advisors and agencies can begin to use video in a variety of ways to market their practices. 

Listen in as Bart shares his thoughts on why he believes the video is the “King of All Media,” and explains how simple it can be for advisors to get started with the medium. We wrap up by laying out how video builds businesses and constitutes social proof in today’s market.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • The immediate advantages of video, including its ability to hit emotional chords better than other media.
  • Why video marketing is not just a “carrier thing.”
  • How advisors can get started with video.
  • How modern technology allows you to avoid breaking the bank and produce great content.
  • The ways that videos achieve social proof.

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Benefits advisors have a huge opportunity with individual disability. Recent estimates are that the market in the blue, gray and white collar segments is only 30% penetrated. If your clients and prospects can’t afford to retire today, you need to be discussing how they can insure their paychecks.

Patrick Irving, Managing Director of Covala Group, joins us to share his Disability Income (DI) expertise with The ShiftShapers audience. Many large corporations offer life insurance benefits, but fewer are offering DI benefits. Fewer still are offering high-quality, portable, individual DI contacts with those outstanding multi-life discounts.

There are many opportunities for augmenting your existing practice with DI sales. After covering some basic terminology, Patrick dives into the tax implications of DI benefits. Patrick also discusses the merits of group versus individual coverage for disabilities.

Whether you want to build a practice around disability income or are looking to augment other revenue streams, you will learn something from this conversation. Advisors will better serve their clients by studying up on DI coverage.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • The market opportunity available with disability income.
  • Differences between multi-life, group, GSI, and individual plans.
  • When to purchase individual or group DI plans and in what order.
  • How disability income is taxed and why this is important to understand.
  • What is generally not covered by group DI.

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ShiftShapersCoverArtOn this episode of ShiftShapers, Jeff Hogan shares the innovative approach his company has used to deliver an engaging, modern, and consultative approach to employee benefits. At the core of this approach lies a focus on building strong partnerships with brokers to provide better options for employers and employees alike.  

Jeff and his team encourage employers to view their benefits offerings like any other corporate asset. Once they’ve established this mindset, Jeff works closely with his brokers to bring them quarterly data and analytics about everything from core benefits to wellness and other benefit initiatives.

Jeff shares a practical example of this process in action and illustrates its financial and medical benefits. He also talks about the effects of the ACA on brokers and clients. Tune in to hear how you can adapt this model to your practice and bring greater value to clients while differentiating your agency.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • How Jeff and his team established themselves as top competitors in a challenging environment.
  • What led to their “benefits as corporate asset” strategy.
  • How they create unique partnerships with their brokers.
  • Why simplicity and logic are sought-after qualities in an increasingly fragmented market.
  • What steps they take to create long-term relationships with employers.
  • The innovative steps they have taken to bring other relevant stakeholders into the equation.

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ShiftShapersCoverArtThis week on ShiftShapers, Kevin Trokey joins us to share strategies for building a market-competitive insurance agency. Kevin is a founding partner and coach at Q4Intelligence, a consulting firm dedicated to removing the barriers that keep independent benefits and insurance agencies from reaching their full potential.

Kevin reveals how his extensive experience as a broker and a principal helped him develop the firm’s unique approach.  Kevin talks about a common mistake most agencies make: focusing their marketing on their own story, rather than that of the consumer. Consumers aren’t looking for you to look exactly like every other provider out there; they want to know which agency can creatively and efficiently help them solve their problems.

Kevin discusses importance of agencies becoming more competitive by realizing their true purpose – helping business owners achieve what they really want. He also addresses the role of increased employee engagement and improved collaboration between the service and sales parts of business in boosting overall agency success.

 

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • How Kevin’s extensive experience as an agency principal helped him to develop his transformational methodology.
  • Why the traditional website design of agencies can off-putting for consumers looking for a solution.
  • The often self-imposed barriers that keep agencies from taking control of their business.
  • The benefits of separating the product and consultative stages of the process.
  • The necessity of building community amongst agencies.

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As “wellness” evolves to “wellbeing” many savvy advisors are adding a financial component. The problem is pervasive and expensive for employees and employers, but new advisor-driven solutions are coming to market.
Jameson Fauver, Director of Business Development at Kashable, joins the ShiftShapers podcast this week to discuss why financial health is the big problem that nobody is talking about. We will learn how a seemingly simple issue faced by millions of employees can be helped by new services coming to the employee benefits space.

The problem with financial wellness is surprisingly large. Seventy-six percent of American workers live paycheck to paycheck. Over half of these workers have less than $1000 in savings. When emergencies hit, employees may have limited options because traditional banks do not offer unsecured loans to consumers. Employees generally turn to high-interest credit cards, loans against retirement plans, or payday lenders. None of those options provide good choices for employees and the financial stress that comes with them impacts both wellness and productivity.

Employers can offer low-cost, socially conscious solutions that solve a needed problem. Jameson provides several solutions that benefit advisors can package into their offerings for employers. There are three channels that advisors can explore when approaching the benefits of a financial wellness program. We dive into these simple, common sense solutions that advisors should definitely consider.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • An overview of the financial problem that employees are facing that no one is talking about.
  • How employees with low credit scores can be helped with financial wellness benefits.
  • Why payday loan programs are the worst options for employees in a financial emergency.
  • How financial wellness programs integrate with other employee benefits.
  • The best way for advisors to position these benefits when approaching clients.

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This week on the ShiftShapers podcast, we speak with John Park – Chief Strategy Officer at Alegeus. As the Trump administration transitions to power in Washington, there have already been serious signals in the consumer-directed marketplace. John shares his views of how consumerism in healthcare may change and how that will impact the future of healthcare services.

Incorporating and driving more individual responsibility in health care decision-making is at the heart of the consumerism movement. We explore two elements of modern healthcare consumerism and trends that are changing the marketplace.

We also discuss the existing tools that are changing to help the consumerism evolve. We learn that while tools are an important part of helping to build consumerism confidence, there are some challenges as well. We’ll talk about both areas and look at how current products, services, and software innovations are trying to address the concerns.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • An explanation of what consumerism in healthcare means.
  • Current trends and predictions regarding the future of HSAs and HRAs.
  • Healthcare tools that consumers are currently requesting.
  • The opportunities for advisors in the HSA environment.
  • Whether employees with high deductible plans forego needed care and the impact of that behavior on future healthcare costs.
  • How plans can incentives consumerism with employees once plan maximums have been exhausted.
  • The importance of data and benchmarking in assessing plan efficacy.

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Is there a better way to position wellness programs with employers and what do advisors need to know about the evolution of those programs?

This week on the ShiftShapers podcast, we delve into strategies that advisors can use to position wellness programs and help employers improve employee engagement in those programs. Andreas Deptolla, the Cofounder and COO of Thrivepass, walks us through how first-generation wellness differs from what’s available in the marketplace today.

Companies used to view their wellness programs through a lens of return on investment. In recent years, there has been a shift from the quantitative focus on wellness to a more holistic approach some refer to as “wellbeing”. Andreas provides an expert take on how advisors can help employers determine the real-world value of wellness programs since tradition ROI metrics are difficult to calculate.

The key to the success of any wellness program lies in the rate of employee engagement. Today’s programs are much more expansive and encompassing than merely suggesting people skip the elevator and instead take the stairs. Andreas shares why the older approach is ineffective and offers tips for advisors to help their clients improve engagement. He also shares talking points for advisors to use in discussions with C-level executives so they can help prospects and clients understand the broader benefits to employees and the effect that has on their companies.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • The difference between wellness and wellbeing and how programs are transforming in the workplace.
  • Whether any wellness program can provide a reliable ROI.
  • How advisors can position wellness programs to show value for employers.
  • The importance that flexibility in wellness programs has on driving engagement.
  • What a universal benefit fund is and how will it drive the future of wellness programs.

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